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USAID WILDLIFE ASIA NEWS ROUND-UP

January 13-19, 2018

The USAID Wildlife Asia compiles news reports on combating wildlife trafficking, and other useful information. This is circulated to subscribers weekly. To contribute to this news round-up, please contact Dararat Weerapong, Communications, Outreach and Learning Specialist: dararat.weerapong@usaidwildlifeasia.org


CONSUMER DEMAND REDUCTION/CAMPAIGNS/BUSINESS

Why Chinese demand for ‘red ivory’ dooms helmeted hornbill bird to extinction unless poaching can be stopped
South China Morning Post, January 13, 2018
Sought after on the black market for their casques, these strange-looking birds - native to Southeast Asia - are close to being wiped out to satisfy human greed. The international trade in illegal wildlife parts has another victim. Over the past five years, there has been an explosion in demand for the “red ivory” of an Asian bird – the helmeted hornbill.

Ivory carvers worry skills may be lost
ECNS, January 16, 2018
Ivory carvers in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, one of the major production and sales centers of ivory products in China, said they have turned to work on substitute materials and that the ban on the commercial processing and sales of ivory has had a limited effect on them so far.

Raided restaurant said to cook pangolin
Taipei Times, January 19, 2018,
Controversy continued over the illegal serving of Taiwan’s endangered animals as banquet dishes, with many people calling for a boycott of ATT Group’s Butterfly Dining restaurant, as employees of several government agencies were yesterday revealed to be frequent patrons. Police and Taipei animal protection officers mounted the raid, after a whistle-blower provided videos of cooks preparing carcasses of pangolin, serow and muntjac for dishes and showed pictures of a special menu at the restaurant, which included dishes such as “Red Roast Muntjac Meat” and “Three Cup Pangolin”. 

Asia’s appetite for Africa’s animals causes concern
The Observer, January 15, 2018
An unquenched Asian taste for wine and herbal medicine laced with extracts of wild animals is driving poaching of rare species in Uganda and across Africa, conservationists have said. Thousands of animals have been stolen and exported to China, Indonesia and Philippines for use in traditional medicines in recent years.

China Makes Good on Its Pledge to Curb Elephant Poaching With Ivory Trade Ban
World Politic Reviews, January 12, 2018
On Jan. 1, China implemented a ban on the domestic sale and processing of ivory, following through on a plan it had announced more than a year ago. The move should effectively cut off one of the major centers of demand that has incentivized the poaching of African elephants. In an email interview, Grace Gabriel, the regional Asia director for the International Fund for Animal Welfare, explains why China decided to execute the ban, the likely impact on poaching and the remaining obstacles and risks to ending the ivory trade.

 
LAW ENFORCEMENT

B15m of ivory seized en route to China 
Bangkok Post, January 13, 2018
Customs officials have confiscated elephant ivory worth 15 million baht (US$469,200) believed to have been smuggled into Thailand by wildlife traders from Nigeria. The gang hid the ivory in three parcels declared as "general goods" but officials cottoned on and decided to inspect the packages, which turned to be valuable elephant carcasses, Chaiyut Kumkun, deputy chief of the Customs Department, said yesterday. 

Hunt for killers of wild elephant 
Bangkok Post, January 15, 2018
Provincial police chief Pol Maj Gen Pattana Petsayanawin on Monday set up three teams of investigators to collect information and look for clues in their manhunt for the killers of the 20-year-old beast. Soldiers are joining the police in a combined effort to hunt down the perpetrators. The male elephant was found dead in the Kui Buri National Park on Friday. A preliminary autopsy by veterinarians from the National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department found a rifle bullet in the body.

Watch Wildlife Crime Evidence Go Up in Flames to Protect Species
National Geographic, January 17, 2018 
Authorities in Indonesia destroyed a stuffed tiger, boa skins, and other contraband to ensure they don’t leak out of government possession and back onto the black market. A stuffed tiger, a frozen tiger carcass, a tiger skin, several sea turtles, a stuffed sambar deer head, a stuffed timor deer head, 28 python skins, a monitor lizard skin, two pieces of ivory, and a rhino horn were burned in the city of Medan, on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, on January 10.

 

POLICY, LEGAL AND POLITICAL COMMITMENT

Japan under renewed pressure to ban ivory exports after China bans domestic trade
Japan Times, January 18, 2018
Japan is under growing pressure to address its illegal ivory exports after China, once the world’s largest ivory market, declared a total ban on domestic ivory trade late last year. Not all ivory illegally traded in China is supplied by poachers. Japan in fact is viewed as a supplier to its black market. In Japan, a lot of ivory products imported before the ban on international trade took effect are legally traded. Chinese brokers buy those products in Japan for sale in China.
 
REGIONAL COLLABORATION AND US GOVERNMENT COORDINATION

Scientists battle to save elephants from poachers using DNA, piles of dung and US$4.5m in seized ivory
South China Morning Post, January 16, 2018
Scientists in the US are using advanced technology and massive databases to stop poaching of elephants in Africa - hopefully saving the beautiful creatures from extinction. Scientists are using information gleaned from both illegal ivory art and elephant dung to provide clues that could help save the lives of pachyderms that are being slaughtered for their tusks in Africa.

How US zoos bred endangered pangolins that are considered impossible to keep alive in captivity
Scroll.in, January 16, 2018
While some conservationists are critical of the project, actions by the Pangolin Consortium have resulted in high captive survival rates. Some conservationists argue that pangolins ­– with such rapidly plummeting wild populations, and perceived high rates of mortality in zoos – should not be held at all in captivity. But the Pangolin Consortium argues just the opposite: to conserve remaining wild populations, scientists need to know far more about these unusual animals, data that can only be gleaned under controlled conditions like those seen in zoos.

EVENTS

Counter Transnational Organized Crime Training Workshop
February 2-9, 2018
Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo
Contact: Salvatore Amato


World Pangolin Day
February 17, 2018
Worldwide 
website
RESOURCES

Behavior Change Strategy Cards 
This set of 23 cards was crafted to help designers, researchers, and anyone facing a behavior change challenge, think through strategies to nudge people toward positive behavioral outcomes. 

Machine learning for tracking illegal wildlife trade on social media 
(Nature Ecology & Evolution, 2018)
Operating within the broader field of artificial intelligence, the concept of machine learning refers to algorithms that learn from data without human guidance.
SURVEY

The Oxford Martin Programme on the Illegal Wildlife Trade aims to translate our research into impact, by creating a set of Tools & Guidance, in collaboration with and for ongoing use by, stakeholders working within the illegal wildlife trade. The Tools & Guidance will be grounded within the specifics of research, yet to have full involvement of  stakeholders throughout the process so that what is produced is useful for the wider global community working to address wildlife trade. Please take a few minutes to complete the below a survey to help the Programme ascertain interest and guide its direction: http://bit.ly/2mMbKaX
Copyright © 2018, USAID Wildlife Asia, All rights reserved.

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